In short, the answer to this question is yes – your business will be affected for a number of reasons. With the new rule change that The Irish Domain Registry (IEDR) has announced, it means that competitors and domain squatters can obtain a .ie domain in relation to your business. This IEDR rule change is proposed to happen in early 2018. Use this to your power to safeguard your business interests online now.
In the past, the IEDR imposed a strict set of rules that meant there had to be significant proof that a person/business was suitable to be granted a .ie domain. This “claim to the name” policy required people to supply:
- Post or documentation with the claimant’s Irish valid address visible on it
- A written claim explaining why they wanted and deserved a specific .ie domain
- A form of valid and current photographic ID
Now, however, it is proposed that instead of the above; the claimants will simply need “a connection to the island of Ireland”. This new process means that it will be much easier for anyone with a connection to Ireland to register a website with a .ie domain name. This opens up a can of worms that can threaten your business in the following ways for example:
If you have never registered an ie. domain name before
You may not have done this because firstly it was not necessary and secondly it was protected. Many Irish businesses have opted for a .com domain (us here at Ireland Website Design included) because they cater for an international audience and clientele. They may not have purchased a .ie domain because under the older IEDR rules, it would be basically impossible for a different person or business to purchase this domain name as they would have no legitimate claim to the business name that would come before the .ie suffix. In this regard, it was in a safety form of stasis. With the new rules, however, this has arguably become easier and more attainable. Businesses need to protect themselves and their online presence by having full ownership of their business name followed by the .ie suffix.
Your competitors may purchase a .ie domain that mimics yours
Following on from the above, others may be able to purchase and use a domain name that is similar to or mimics your business name/website name. For example www.umbrella.com and www.umbrellas.ie is very similar with only the letter ‘s’ being different before the .com or .ie suffix. This can infringe and impact your online presence by causing confusion in the marketplace. Not only that, there is nothing to stop people pretending to represent you and your business on this lookalike website and creating a bad reputation for your business and brand by having a website filled with spyware and viruses, etc. Having your brand and likeness fall into the wrong hands like this is never a good thing.
Domain squatters will be active in droves
A domain squatter is someone who purchases domain names for the sole use to inconvenience others and make profits for themselves. They may never intend to attach a website to a domain name, but simply own it to sell it to others who may want to legitimately use it. No doubt they will see these new IEDR rules as an opportunity to expand their portfolio of domain names to try and make money from.
So as you can see, it really makes sense to have ownership of your .ie domain name as soon as you can get it. Your .ie domain name does not simply have to stay unused in storage. We can set up what is known as web forwarding for your business. This means that if someone tries to reach your website through your .ie domain name and you primarily use a .com domain name; they will automatically (and discreetly) be redirected to your correct .com website.
You can click/tap here to be taken to the IEDR website for further information and to view their FAQ section.